MARTINSVILLE, VA - After a three-weekend layoff, the Team Silverado drivers return to action for the series' second event of the season at Martinsville Speedway. The 200-lap Kroger 200 marks the last short-track event of the year for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
Dennis Setzer heads to what he considers his "home" track with a five point lead in the 2005 championship battle. Setzer's record at Martinsville makes him one of the favorites to bring home the victory for Team Silverado. In 11 previous NCTS starts there, he has scored two wins, six top-five and seven top-10 finishes. He finished second in the 2004 Kroger 200.
Chevrolet can wrap up its sixth NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series manufacturers championship this week. A victory will win the title outright. Chevrolet also can clinch with a second place among manufacturers if Toyota finishes fourth and Dodge third.
Bobby Labonte will make his first appearance behind the wheel of the No. 16 Chevy Trucks Silverado fielded by Xpress Motorsports, formerly driven by Jack Sprague. Labonte is looking to win his second consecutive NCTS event at Martinsville Speedway having taken the No. 47 Morgan Dollar Motorsports All Star Silverado to victory lane in April 2005. The win gave the 2000 NASCAR Cup Champion the distinction of being the only driver to win a race in each of NASCAR's Big Three divisions at a single track. In addition, Labonte has poles at the famed Virginia track in both NASCAR Cup and Busch Series competition. He will be gunning to add a pole in the NCTS to make his Martinsville Speedway stats even more impressive.
An announcement from Xpress Motorsports naming the drivers of the No. 16 Chevy Trucks Silverado to compete in the final four events of the 2005 season will be forthcoming.
Willie Allen, a young standout driver from Tennessee, will make his NCTS debut in the No. 47 Nashville Visitors and Convention Bureau Chevrolet Silverado teaming with Setzer. Allen was a participant in the GM Driver Development test in May 2005 at North Carolina's Caraway Speedway. His performance landed him the opportunity to make his debut at Martinsville in a major NASCAR touring series.
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Rookie of the Year contender Kyle Busch will be back behind the wheel of the No. 15 ditech.com Silverado fielded by Billy Ballew Motorsports. Busch has six NCTS starts in 2005 that have netted him two victories, four top-five and five top-10 finishes. He has also one pole to his credit this season.
The only practice for the Martinsville Kroger 200 is scheduled for two hours and fifteen minutes beginning at 9:00 a.m. EDT on Friday, October 21. Qualifying will be held at 4:45 PM EDT and the final field of trucks impounded until the scheduled race start at 1:15 p.m. EDT on Saturday, October 22, 2005. Live television coverage of the 200-lap/ 105.2-mile race will be provided by SPEED Channel with MRN and XM Satellite bringing the race live on the airwaves.
DRIVER: DENNIS SETZER
TEAM: No. 46 Morgan-Dollar Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado
QUOTES: "Its really great to get back to some short track racing, and what better place than my favorite track - Martinsville Speedway. We've had some good runs there and have gotten some big wins at that track over the past few years, but earlier this season in the Spring event we had some tire issues. We had a good truck and were fast, but cutting a tire down at a half-mile track is going to put you out of contention pretty fast. My teammate for that race, Bobby Labonte, went on to score the win for the No. 47 team, but we took a hit in the points.
"This is a great track for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series to compete on and it's a great race for the fans to watch. Last year we finished second two straight times, but couldn't complete the pass for the win. The track is in really great condition with the changes that they have made there. The racing is back in the hands of the driver. It's all about horsepower, braking and set up. Aerodynamics is totally out of the formula. We are looking to score a win here in our Chevy Silverado to get some momentum going for the remainder of the season."
DRIVER: BOBBY LABONTE
TEAM: No. 16 Xpress Motorsports Chevy Trucks Silverado
QUOTES: "I'm excited about the Martinsville race. I like the track and we'd like to make it two wins in one year. The 16 team needed a driver, and I was happy to fill in. It's a great team, and I'm looking forward to working with them."
DRIVER: DAVID STARR
TEAM: No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Silverado
QUOTES: "Martinsville is always fun. It is good old-fashioned short track racing and that is where I came from so for me it is going back to my roots. The action is very fast and furious with lots of banging and bumping. It is always a great show for the fans and the competitors.
"The important thing a this track is to have a good handling truck, one that turns good in the center and has good forward bite off the corners. Doing well means being there at the end so you have to really take care of your equipment, especially your brakes. It takes a tough truck to do well here and we know our Spears Chevy Silverado is definitely tough.
"We are definitely ready for this round and hopefully at the end our Spears Chevy Silverado will be the one to cross the finish line first."
DRIVER: RON HORNADAY
TEAM: No. 6 Kevin Harvick, Inc. GM Goodwrench Silverado
QUOTES: "I am just happy that we are finally going to be back on the track racing. The points race heats up and then we have a long break. We have to maintain a little momentum and try to figure out how to win a few of these last races. Some guys like the breaks that we get, but I would prefer to race every weekend. Our goals now are to get as many points as we can in the GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Silverado and finish out the season strong. The team has performed all year and we look to continue to put the No. 6 out front."
DRIVER: WILLIE ALLEN
TEAM: No. 47 Morgan Dollar Motorsports Nashville Music City Silverado
QUOTES: "I'm honored that Morgan-Dollar Motorsports and Chevy Silverado have shown the confidence in me to run the No. 47 truck at Martinsville. I am truly blessed to have such a top-notch team, and the mentoring of Dennis Setzer, for my first appearance in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. I know the competition is stiff in the Truck Series so we have made it our number one priority to qualify for the race and then run all 200 laps to gain as much experience as possible.
"It is very exciting to run our first NCTS race is in Martinsville! There is so much history there, and the races are always so exciting for the fans. I can't wait till I get out on that track and make laps.
"I grew up just outside Nashville, and have raced there for several years now. I am honored that the city of Nashville has confidence in me and has chosen to sponsor our Silverado. Nashville is truly Music City and also has a long and distinguished racing history. Some of the greatest drivers in our sport started their careers in Nashville. I am proud to have the opportunity to represent both at Martinsville."
DRIVER: KYLE BUSCH
TEAM: No. 15 Billy Ballew Motorsports ditech.com Silverado
QUOTES: "The Martinsville test was a learning experience in the truck. We started off good, made some changes, and were pretty bad. We worked on it, made some more changes and got better. That is the reason we test, to learn what the truck will react to in different situations. I am looking forward to racing in the truck because I have very few laps under my belt at the track and I will be able to learn a lot for Sunday. I think we should be a contender in the No. 15 ditech.com Chevy and hopefully be able to give Billy Ballew Motorsports another win before the season is up."